April 7, 2021
Today, New York State leaders voted to approve the Fiscal Year 2022 State Adopted Budget of $212 billion. We are grateful for actions to recognize increased state revenue, implement state tax policy reforms, and leverage federal stimulus such that critical restorations and historic investments could be made to support New York’s rebuilding and recovery efforts. That said, CCC is eager to continue to work with the Governor and State Legislature in the coming months to ensure that these investments are sustained and that further action is taken to ensure that all children and families fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and have access to the resources and supports needed to thrive.
Following two decades of advocacy, the FY’22 State Adopted Budget will finally fully phase in $4 billion in Foundation Aid, the amount owed to New York’s students and schools because of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity legal battle. The budget will increase funding for schools this year by $1.4 billion, fully phase in the remaining amount over the next three years, and then maintain funding at that level thereafter. Additionally, the budget delivers the entirety of $13 billion federal education funds from the recent stimulus packages directly to schools. Together these actions mark a historic win for New York’s students and a monumental down payment on their education and future.
The budget also includes a historic $2.1 billion dollars to support excluded frontline workers and immigrant communities across the state who have been excluded from federal relief and entitlement programs. Other critical areas of support include $105 million expansion of universal pre-k statewide, and $2.4 billion in federal child care funds to expand access, lower family co-pays, and support child care providers. Moreover, the budget includes $2.3 billion of dollars for a rent relief program supported by federal aid that will be crucial to maintain housing stability for families.
CCC is deeply grateful to the advocates, stakeholders, and state leaders who informed these investments and policy priorities. We are also pleased that the budget restores funding to avoid many harmful cuts that would have devastated children, families and communities, including restorations to proposed cuts to public health, behavioral health services, the Early Intervention Program, and critical child welfare services. Moreover, the budget includes important policy provisions that expand telehealth to include peer advocates; improve data collection on broadband access and create a maximum price of $15 per month for broadband for low-income families; improve data collection on the public health needs of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans; and close two youth detention facilities.
However, there are several areas where the budget falls short in responding to the heightened needs that New York’s children and families are experiencing in developmental and behavioral health, housing instability, and economic insecurity. Among them, the budget does not include an expansion of the empire state tax credit to close the gap for children in immigrant families that the American Rescue Plan Act’s child tax credit reforms leave behind.
The budget also fails to make any significant new investments in Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education, nor does it include a EI Covered Lives proposal, which would make commercial insurers pay their fair share and add desperately needed funding to the Early Intervention system. The budget also fails to sufficiently address the urgent and rising behavioral health needs of children by failing to include new behavioral health supports in the Child Health Plus program and by failing to identify and fund new investments in the children’s behavioral health system. The issues of an EI Covered Lives proposal and behavioral health services in CHP must be addressed during the legislative session, and we urge the State Department of Health and the Office of Mental Health to prioritize children’s behavioral health services as they allocate federal stimulus funding.
The budget also misses an opportunity to improve access to rent relief by expanding eligibility and removing barriers to rent assistance. We urge the State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, as it leverages federal stimulus funds, to take immediate action to ensure that access to rent subsidies is timely and efficient to ensure that families remain stably housed. Lastly, as the State moves forward with closing of additional youth detention facilities, we urge the Governor and Legislature to prioritize reinvesting savings from future closures into communities where youth most impacted by justice-involvement reside.
CCC looks forward to continuing to work with state leaders to set New York’s children, families, and communities on a pathway towards recovery.